Archive for the ‘WWII History’ Category
1939 Finnish forces launch a successful counter attack to the North of Lake Ladoga.
Finnish ski troops tear up the Leningrad-Murmansk rail line.
1940 The worst Luftwaffe raid on London causes 1500 fires in the “Second Great Fire of London,” but St. Paul’s Cathedral survives.
President Roosevelt makes “Arsenal of Democracy” radio address in a fireside chat, promising aid to Britain.
Vichy France creates a commission for Jewish affairs.
The Italian troopship Sardegna is torpedoed and sunk by the Greek submarine Proteus, which was then rammed and sunk by the destroyer Antares.
1941 Soviet troops make an amphibious landing at Feodosiya on the south coast of the Crimea in order to relive pressure against Sevastopol and hopefully clear the Germans from the Crimea.
British evacuate from British Borneo to Dutch Borneo.
Japanese bomb Corregidor in the Philippines for the first time.
German submarine U-602 was commissioned.
1942 The British cruisers HMS Jamaica and HMS Sheffield join convoy JW-51B south of Bear Island as its makes the dangerous passage through the Barents Sea.
German army begins retreat from Caucasus.
British Eighth Army occupies Buerat and Bu Ngem, Libya.
1943 The Eighth 2,000-ton air raid is flown against Berlin by the RAF on the third anniversary of the fire bombing of London.
General Eisenhower orders Allied Commanders to, as far as possible, avoid attacking the historic monuments of Italy. “Today we are fighting in a country which has contributed a great deal to our cultural inheritance,” Eisenhower wrote. “We are bound to respect those monuments so far as war allows. If we have to choose between destroying a famous building and sacrificing our own men, then our men’s lives count infinitely more and the buildings must go. But the choice is not always so clear-cut as that. In many cases the monuments can be spared without any detriment to operational needs.”
US Marines secure Cape Gloucester airfield on New Britain.
1944 In Italy, Germans retreat in Serchio Valley after counterattack against US Fifth Army.
British Commandos carried out Operation Partridge over the night of December 29/30, a diversionary raid behind German lines in Italy.
RAF drops 12,000-pound bombs on German U-boat pens in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
The Siege of Budapest by Soviet and Romanian forces begins.
German submarine U-322 was depth charged and sunk south of Weymouth, Dorset by Canadian corvette Calgary.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: February 2 WWII Today: November 17 WWII Today: November 25
1939 First flight of the XB-24 Liberator, at Lindbergh Field, San Diego, the prototype for what will be America’s most-produced four-engine bomber of the war.
The German submarine U-30 spotted the British battleship HMS Barnham west of the Butt of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides and hit it with a torpedo. Four crew members were killed but the Barham was able to make it back to Liverpool where it underwent six months of repairs.
The British Minister of Food W.S. Morrison announced that starting January 8, rationing would be expanded to include butter, bacon, ham and sugar.
1940 Mussolini asks Hitler for support, to help the bogged down Italian forces with their offensive against the Greeks in Albania.
As food becomes scarce in Italy, the Italian government announces that in extreme cases people caught hoarding food might be executed.
1941 General Wavell takes over command of the British forces defending Burma and India.
Lieutenant eneral Thomas Jacomb Hutton assumed command of Burma Army.
US authorizes first contingent of Navy Construction Battalions: the “Seabees.”
Japanese paratroopers land on Sumatra.
The British cargo ship Volo was torpedoed and sunk off the coast of Egypt by German submarine U-75. The destroyer HMS Kipling chased the U-boat down and sank U-75 with depth charges.
1942 The Japanese withdrawal from Buna ordered.
In the face of the continuing Soviet offensive toward Rostov-on-Don, Army Group A is ordered to withdraw its forces from the Caucasus.
Sterilization experiments on women at Birkenau begin.
General De Gaulle welcomes Giraud’s appointment and calls for French unity.
1943 The British military mission arrives in Turkey to discuss the supply of arms and troops as agreed at Cairo. However, the Turks make surprising new demands, which cannot be met.
The Eighth Army and Canadians take Ortona, Italy after fierce house-to-house fighting.
In Naples, US Army opens mass delousing stations for civilians to control typhus epidemic.
The Battle of the Bay of Biscay was fought between British and German warships. The result was a victory for the Royal Navy as two German torpedo boats and the destroyer Z27 were sunk with no British losses in return.
1944 U.S. troops gain ground against the Ardennes salient.
Corrie ten Boom is released from Ravensbrück concentration camp due to a clerical error; she would later write The Hiding Place about her experiences. Musical On the Town premieres on Broadway.
1945 The United Sstates Congress officially recognizes the Pledge of Allegiance.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: July 8 WWII Today: July 12 WWII Today: October 13
1939 The Finnish 9th Division attacks towards Suomussalmi, recapturing the village and forcing the Russian 163rd Division to retreat in panic.
US State Department protests British removal and censorship of US mail from neutral ships.
1941 Japanese bomb Manila despite “open city” declaration.
Australian Prime Minister John Curtin proclaims, “Australia looks to America.”
Japanese sub I-25 shells US tanker Connecticut off the mouth of the Columbia River.
US announces rationing of tires and all rubber goods, effective January 5.
British and Norwegian Commandos raid the Norwegian port of Vågsøy, causing Hitler to reinforce the garrison and defenses.
The Australian Prime Minister, Curtin, announces, “Australia looks to America”.
The Red Army continues its counter-offensive in the Kalinin area.
1942 Hitler agrees to allow the retreat by Army Groups A and Don to a line 150 miles west of Stalingrad.
General Giraud becomes the leader of French Africa.
Germans form Smolensk Committee to persuade Soviet POWs to fight for Axis.
1943 In Italy, the Allied advance halts at Monte Cassino.
President Roosevelt signed an order seizing the railroads of the United States in advance of a December 30 strike of rail workers, and at 7:00 pm Washington time, soldiers from the U.S. Army began taking control of lines affected by the impending walkout.
1944 British troops reach Foul Point in Arakan.
The Russians capture Gran, this cutting all communications with Budapest and trapping five German and Hungarian divisions.
Soviets encircle Budapest, Hungary, beginning 102-day siege.
The siege of Bastogne ends in U.S. Victory.
German submarine U-877 was depth charged and sunk northwest of the Azores by Canadian corvette HMCS St. Thomas using Squid.
1945 The US, UK, and USSR agree to govern Korea jointly for five years.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: July 19 WWII Today: November 2 WWII Cartoon Ben Dix
1939 The first squadron of Australian airmen arrives in Britain.
1941 Japanese troops cross the river Perak. The Japanese commander General Yamashita senses that British resistance is weakening in Malaya and is determined to push home his advantage and not allow the British any time to reorganize themselves. This he does by forcing the British troops back down the coast roads until he reaches a defensive position and then outflanks it through the jungle.
The Philippine capital of Manila is declared an open city by General Douglas MacArthur
Winston Churchill addresses Joint Session of Congress and receives a rousing ovation, but says allied offensive must wait until 1943.
The Russians land on the Kerch Peninsula in an attempt to relieve the siege of Sevastopol.
1942 The Russians continue their advance on the southern front and claim 56,000 prisoners taken in middle Don region
The French authorities execute Admiral Darlan’s assassin.
1943 Ordered to sail to the Barents Sea and destroy the allied convoy JW-55B bound for the Soviet port of Murmansk, the German battle-cruiser Scharnhorst encounters a protective force of the British Home Fleet consisting of the cruisers HMS Belfast, Duke of York, Jamaica and Norfolk. After a fierce action, Scharnhorst is sunk, with only 36 of her crew of 1,839 surviving.
US Marines land at Cape Gloucester, New Britain in the Solomons; they encounter little opposition due to heavy bombing.
British ships sink German battlecruiser Scharnhorst in the Battle of North Cape off Norway; only 36 of 1963 men survive.
1944 Eight French Gestapo leaders are executed in Paris.
Bastogne is relieved by the U.S. 4th Armored Division.
US Third Army’s 4th Armored Division under Patton open a corridor to Bastogne, relieving the defenders. German Ardennes Offensive grinds to a halt due to supply problems caused by Allied bombing.
In Italy, Germans launch counterattack against US Fifth Army in Serchio Valley, retaking territory.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:Winston Churchill Quote WWII Today: December 28 WWII Today: July 8
1939 A fresh Russian division is thrown into the attacks at Taipale. The Russian air force bombs 11 towns and villages.
Soviets attempt to break out at Suomussalmi, Finland, but fail.
The admiralty announces the completion of a minefield, 500 miles long and 35 wide, down the East coast.
1940 The Admiral Hipper intercepts a convoy bound for the middle east, but is forced to withdraw by three escorting cruisers and has to put in to Brest for repairs.
Pope Pius XII celebrates Christmas Midnight Mass in afternoon due to blackout.
1941 The British retake Benghazi.
Hong Kong surrenders after a 7 day siege, with more than 2,000 killed or missing and 2,300 wounded.
The RAF and American Volunteer Group shoot down 51 Japanese aircraft over Rangoon for loss of just 12 of their own number.
Japanese secure Jolo Island in Philippines.
Over 3,000 starve to death in Leningrad. Hitler removes Guderian from command of Panzer Group 2.
1942 Heavy fighting continues all around the perimeter of Stalingrad, while the decimated and starving troops of 6th Army receive their last rations of horse meat, the 12,000 horses in the pocket having now all been slaughtered.
Convoy JW-51A arrives at Murmansk without loss.
In Tunisia, Germans retake Longstop Hill; Americans lost 500 men in 4-day battle.
1944 The 2nd Panzer Division is just four miles from the river Meuse, Southwest of Liege, but is stopped by the U.S. 2nd Armored Division with British help.
The last Japanese port on Leyte is captured and MacArthur proclaims that Leyte is secure.
US lands at Palompon on Leyte in the Philippines, cutting off the last Japanese port on the island, and ending the assault phase of the campaign.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: January 8 WWII Today: March 26 WWII Today: August: 3
1939 Pope Pius XII makes a Christmas appeal for peace.
1940 US refuses to admit Jewish refugees, believing it will lead to expulsion of all Jews from Europe.
Bonus Christmas ration is distributed in Germany—26 oz rice & vegetables, 1 lb sugar, coffee, and jam.
1941 Japanese troops make further landings on Luzon to the southeast of Manila in Lamon Bay. The Japanese 16th Division starts its drive north towards Manila in an attempt to link up with the North Luzon Force. General MacArthur announces his decision to withdraw his forces to Bataan. A supply base is to be setup on Corregidor with sufficient stock to carry on the fight for 6 months.
British Eighth Army takes Benghazi, Libya.
White House tree-lighting ceremony moved to south end of grounds to be easily seen, the last tree-lighting until 1945.
1942 US bomb Wake Island.
Following the suspension of ‘Operation Winter Tempest’, the relief of Stalingrad, the Red Army begins an offensive against Army Group Don toward Kotelnikovo, breaking through the lines of 4th Romanian Army.
Soviets take 1 of 2 airfields used in Luftwaffe supply of Stalingrad.
In Algiers, Admiral Jean-François Darlan, French commander in North Africa, is assassinated by Ferdinand Bonnier de la Chapelle, a French royalist.
1943 Commanders of the ‘Second Front’ are announced as Eisenhower, Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force; Montgomery to be C in C of 21st Army Group.
Sir Henry Maitland Wilson is made Supreme Commander in the Mediterranean and Alexander is C in C Allied Armies, Italy.
The Russians commence a third winter offensive, with Vatutin’s 63 divisions in the Ukraine and capture Berdichev.
Roosevelt broadcasts about the Cairo and Teheran conferences and says plans have been laid for the invasion of Europe and its post-war reconstruction.
1944 In the English Channel, U-486 (Oblt.z.S. Gerhard Meyer) sinks the allied troop carrier SS Leopoldville with the loss of 763 men of the US 66th Infantry Division. All news and information on this incident is suppressed by orders of SHAEF headquarters.
In the largest mission to date, 2034 bombers of the US Eighth Air Force bomb German targets in the Ardennes.
Brigadier General Frederick Castle, commander of 4th Combat Bombardment Wing and former commander of US 94th Bomb Group, dies in crash after giving his crew time to bail out from his damaged B-17, receives Medal of HonorTake a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: December 25 – Christmas Day WWII Today: July 2 WWII Today: February 7
1939 British form military intelligence section MI9 to aid resistance fighters, downed airmen, and POWs in Nazi-occupied countries.
First Canadian troops arrive in Britain.
1940 Anthony Eden becomes Foreign Secretary.
Churchill broadcasts to Italy: ‘All because of one man’.
Lord Halifax appointed British ambassador to Washington.
Italian torpedo boat Fratelli Cairoli sinks after hitting a mine off the coast of Tripoli.
Chiang Kai-shek dissolves all Communist associations in China.
1941 Concerned about the safety of the founding documents of the United States in wartime Washington, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are removed from their display space at the National Archives and are transported in a special sealed container to temporary storage at the U.S. Gold Depository at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. On Oct. 1, 1944, with the danger to the mainland United States passed, the documents are returned to public display in Washington.
Under continuous pressure, Rommel and his Afrika Korps start to evacuate Benghazi.
The Japanese launch their first bomber attack on Rangoon. They suffer heavy losses to RAF fighters, but press home their attack, inflicting substantial damage to docks at Rangoon.
The Japanese launch another attack against Wake Island, overwhelming the small US garrison. Immediately after its capture, the Japanese rename the Island as Bird Island. Rear-Admiral Frank J. Fletcher’s task force is still more that 400 miles away and so is diverted to Midway. American and Filipino troops of the North Luzon Force, begin to fall back towards the River Agno under heavy pressure from the Japanese.
British evacuate Malaya above Perak River as Japanese advance.
Off Cambria CA, Japanese sub I-21 sinks US tanker Montebello in sight of the coast; survivors machine-gunned in lifeboats but no one is injured.
1942 Having advanced as far as the Myshkova river 30 miles southwest of Stalingrad, the three Panzer divisions of the relief force have exhausted their power and begin to withdraw towards their starting line at Kotelnikovo.
Bob Hope entertains troops in Alaska, the first of his Christmas shows. First War Loan Drive ends, raised $13 billion (quota was $9 billion).
1944 A breakthrough to the South West of Budapest is now 60-mile wide.
A German E-boat force is routed off the Scheldt Estuary.
1945 General Dwight D. Eisenhower confirms the death sentence of Private Eddie Slovik, the only American shot for desertion since the Civil War.
Germans reach maximum range of Ardennes offensive, within 3 miles of Meuse River.
In US, all horse and dog racing banned to save labor, effective January 3, 1945.
At Papago Park camp in Arizona, 25 German POWs escape, ecstatic about successes in the Battle of the Bulge.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: November 19 WWII Today: July 28 Words at War: Wild River
1939 Finns overrun Soviets at Ägläjärvi, Finland.
1940 David Margesson appointed to replace Anthony Eden as British Secretary of State for War.
The Battle of Himara ended in Greek victory.
The heaviest raids of the Manchester Blitz began. Over the next two days a total of 654 people were killed and over 2,000 injured.
1941 Prime Minister Churchill arrives at the White House as the guest of President Roosevelt for the Washington Conference.
The Arcadia Conference begins in Washington: Britain and US agree to “Germany First” plan.
The Japanese begin their invasion of the Philippines by landing 43,000 troops of General Homma’s 14th Army in Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, 150 miles north of Manila. Filipino troops here failed to prevent the beachhead from being established and their scouts, which had been sent forward in order to secure the defiles barring the way south were also unsuccessful.
First American troops arrive in Australia.
US expands draft: all men 18-65 must register, all men 20-44 liable for conscription.
Allied troops reached Beda Fomm but were halted by 30 German tanks. Axis forces began evacuating Benghazi by sea.
The Battle of Sjenica was fought in the Italian governorate of Montenegro. The Yugoslav Partisans were defeated.
German submarine U-380 was commissioned.
1942 Convoy JW-51B (14 merchants) leaves Loch Ewe escorted by 6 destroyers and a minesweeper.
The Soviets drive German troops back 15 miles at the Don River.
The Soviets retake Morozovsk.
German submarine U-200 was commissioned.
Chifley is appointed as Minister of Post-War Reconstruction in Australia.
1943 The allies announce that Tito is to be the allied commander in Yugoslavia as his partisans now estimated at 250,000 men.
Hitler issued a “Führer Order” (Führerbefehl) creating the “National Socialist Leading Officers”, charged with disseminating propaganda for “getting soldiers to believe in final victory” in the war “even if they did not know how it was going to be achieved”.
The German government ordered that all boys aged 16 and older would be required to register for military duty in January.
The Second Battle of Kiev ends in Soviet victory.
The German light cruiser Niobe was sunk by British motor torpedo boats three days after running aground off Silba, Yugoslavia.
The Germans demand surrender of surrounded Bastogne, Belgium—The artillery commander of the 101st ABN, US Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe replies, “Nuts!”
Rundstedt’s suggestion of a withdrawal is refused by Hitler.
The U.S. 3rd Army begins an offensive to relieve Bastogne.
The British announce a call-up of 250,000 troops ‘to sustain and nourish our armies in the line’.
Patton begins to turn his army 90 degrees to the north to relieve Bastogne as he had promised Ike Dec. 19 – 250,000 troops 75 mi.
The US 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne, Belgium, is surrounded.
The U.S. First Army withdraws from St. Vith
1945 Britain and the U.S.A formally recognize Tito’s Yugoslavia.
President Truman issues “Truman Directive,” authorizing immigration of increased numbers of displaced persons.
1948 Former Japanese prime minister Hideki Tojo is executed for war crimes. Tojo tried to commit suicide before his trial but survived to face the executioner.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: July 18 WWII Today: June 3 WWII Today: July 17
1939 During their brief period of comradeship, Hitler sends Joseph Stalin a telegram wishing him a happy sixtieth birthday.
1940 The RAF attacks Berlin, inflicting only minor damage.
The Admiralty decides to transfer another Battleship, HMS Malaya to Force H from the Mediterranean fleet. Again this was to be accomplished by escorting a convoy to Malta and linking up with units of Force H for the journey to Gibraltar. No losses were suffered to enemy action although a Destroyer was sunk when it hit a mine.
Bardia is surrounded by the 6th Australian Division, although the Italians are determined to fight it out.
1941 Typhus reported to be sweeping through the German forces along the Russian front.
The Axis launch a renewed air offensive against the Island of Malta.
In convoy HG-76, U-751 sinks British escort carrier Audacity, which had kept away 12 U-boats for a loss of only 4 ships in the convoy, leading the Germans to change tactics when carriers were present.
1942 Hitler refuses to let Paulus break out from their encirclement at Stalingrad.
British troops cross the Burmese border from India and head Southeast towards Akyab.
1943 Under pressure from the Allies to curtail German espionage operations in the Irish Free State, Prime Minister Eamon de Valera confiscates the German embassy’s radio transmitter.
The Eighth Army’s 1st Canadian Division battles to capture Ortona in central Italy.
Russian forces smash the German bridgehead over Dnieper River at Kherson.
1944 The U.S. First Army retakes Stavelot but to the south, the Germans surround and besiege Bastogne. Units of 5th Panzer Army capture St. Vith.
1945 General George S. Patton dies at the age of 60 after being injured in a car accident on Dec.9th.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: June 17 WWII Today: March 20 WWII Today: May 10
1939 The Russians cease their attacks at Summa, leaving Finnish forces in control of the wholeÂ Mannerheim defensive line, except the Oinala Bulge.
Captain Langsdorff of Admiral Graf Spee commits suicide.
“Let’s Help Finland” event held at Madison Square Garden, New York City.
1940 The Luftwaffe continues its attacks against British cities, this time hitting Liverpool.
No Italian troops are now left on Egyptian soil, except as prisoners.
1941 Propaganda Minister, Josef Goebbels broadcasts an appeal for winter clothing for the German troops on the eastern front.
German forces of Army Group Centre retreating from before Moscow reach a new defensive line more than 100km to the west, where, following strict orders by Hitler, they are to stand and fight off any further Soviet advances.
Admiral Royal E. Ingersoll takes over command of the Atlantic Fleet, from Admiral Ernest J. King who is appointed as Commander, US Navy
1942 The navigation and bombing radar aid ‘Oboe’ is used operationally for the first time by Bomber Command.
The Japanese bomb Calcutta for the first time.
1943 Franco disbands Falangist (Fascist) Militia in Spain.
US counter intelligence reports the smashing of a Nazi spy ring in Sicily. A 19-year-old ringleader ‘Grammatico’ and 27 others are arrested.
The heaviest raid of war on Frankfurt with more than 2,000 tons dropped by RAF. Mosquito raiders follow half an hour later to hamper the fire fighters efforts.
De Lattre de Tassigny meets de Gaulle in Algiers before taking command of ‘Army B’, for liberation of France.
The British reach the Maungdaw plain in Arakan, Burma.
1944 In their torturous advance toward the Meuse river, armored units of 6th SS Panzer Army capture Stavelot, searching for allied fuel dumps to replenish their nearly exhausted supplies of gasoline.
US terminates WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) program—returning combat airmen will perform their ferrying services; 1037 women served, with 38 fatalities.Take a look at these other WWII Posts:WWII Today: June 3 WWII Today: June 29 WWII Today: May 4